Mindy Project Turns “I’m Sandra Bullock” Into My New Drunken War Cry
By Alex Cranz
It’s not easy to be a comedy pilot. You have to set up your premise and give us a hint of your show’s style and develop immediate chemistry amongst your cast and, most importantly, you have to be funny.
It’s a tough set of standards that even some of the best comedies have failed to meet. Happy Endings? Not so funny! The Office? I was so horrified by the first season I STILL haven’t watched the rest! Parks and Recreation? Barely a guffaw–except for when Leslie went ass over tea kettle into the Pit and that was only funny because I still don’t know what sort of roll Amy Poehler was doing.
The Mindy Project succeeds in the rare feat of surpassing those standards on the first try. A drunken woman weaving down the road shouting “I’m Sandra Bullock!” is the kind of moment destined to inspire a drunken rallying cry for women (and men) everywhere. It’s evocative both of what society expects our single lives to be and what we in turn demand of those lives and it spits in the face of every rejection we’ve ever suffered.
Mindy Kaling, like Tina Fey and Mary Tyler Moore before her is us. Though she isn’t white and she works to make sure even the extras aren’t a sea of mayo rewriting American diversity. She fully embraces the problematic role the world has given her while fighting back against it as comically as possible.
She has and will be compared to Lena Dunham with this project. They’re both women and the both don’t look like the tv stars we’ve grown accustomed too and they’re both writing and producing comedy shows and that’s enough of a similarity to place them next to one another and focus our microscope on their pores–never mind the fact that I don’t see anyone drawing broad and vaguely sexist comparisons between the work of Louis CK and Kevin James.
Let’s compare ladies!
Ooooor let’s not. The similarities begin and end with both shows featuring single women being funny. Kaling isn’t going for reality with her show (though that early scene of her in her dorm room felt eerily familiar for this particular writer).
Every week she works as a hyper competent OBGYN who maybe misses some births because of drunken Sandra Bullocking moments. She doesn’t glamour it up when delivering babies because guys you don’t want to see your OBGYN’s fabulous eye shadow when you’re unloading seven pounds of human and pooping at the same time. She goes for the hottest guy in the room because hot guys have that V thing going for them and don’t get hung up on relationship stuff because they’re too busy starving themselves and eating tuna fish to maintain that V.
She’s working towards making her life a living romantic comedy. And that means being great at her job but having less luck romantically and that means banging Hollywood hot guys and that means at least one embarrassing moment at a wedding while a snarky Mr. Darcy wannabe watches and does nothing.
Guys she’s deconstructing and rebuilding the romantic comedy and tinkering with the traditionally cinematic genre until it will fit in thirty minute segments aired twenty times a season.
And I can’t wait to watch her succeed.